My name is on the Quit Claim Deed of a home that is paid off and I am still being asked to pay rent. Is this fair?

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My mom is 88 yrs old. My Dad has been gone since 2005. When they made a quit claim deed, My brother and sister and I and mom's names are all on that deed. A recent consultation visit with a Elder Law attorney, said that the Quit Claim Deed was a good thing, but the bad thing was, that she still had her Name on it. When my girlfriend moved in here in September, she was asked to pay rent here to my mom. I don't feel it is fair since I am already part owner of this house. My mom has 2 houses both paid for. I live on 40 acres of property that is called the "Family Farm". I have been taking care of mom and all her needs as best as I can for a lot of years now. I even lost my job when I approached my boss in December of 2009, 3 days before X-mas to tell him that I was having issues at home with my mom and needed to miss some time. Three days later he let me go. I was able to get unemployment, but it will not last forever. Moms still has lots of needs to go to the doctor, doing her pills, getting her mail, grocery shopping and all to do with transportation,. We have her on a list to get into assisted living, but she is not wanting to do this. She is ignoring the Doctors suggestions to be there and he understands my need to get back to work. Today my mom says why can't kids just help their parents for free? I couldn't say anything. Any ways, my family feels that I have lived here rent free for the 22 yrs I been here. Many times during those years, I have paid rent off and on and can prove it. My girlfriend quit her job in California and moved to Michigan to help out with my mom till I could get back on my feet. On several different occasions all I hear is that she is here for the money. But everything I do is getting thrown in my face. I feel my girlfriend should not have to pay rent to my mom because I am already a part owner of this house. On top of all we have done for her and don't get paid for.
I don't want to get paid from my mom. but this is all becoming too much for me.
My sister says that mom should get paid the $400 a month rent , and that is to pay for the taxes. That is a $3000 dollar profit for my mom. That money is gonna be taken by the state for her care because she didn't get her name off of the Quit Claim Deed. And I know it is too late for that. Anyways my mom said that none of us can afford the taxes. I told her it would be cheaper for me to pay the taxes than pay rent. Can she legally collect money for rent, when my name is already on the deed? And I don't feel its fair in the end for my siblings to get reinbursed equally for all I have been doing to keep this place up incuding hers Plus all the years of taking care of everything for mom. I also kept her lawn up on 2 acres of lawn over there for 6 yrs now plus the espense of taking care of this place over here that no one seems apprieciative of? Is it okay for mom to be the sole boss to collect when I have done all I can to help her. It doesn't make since to me.. ANd because of all this turmoil, my girlfriend has moved out and rented another place for less, My sister is telling me now that they can get $600 a month rent from here if I move out. I mean what the hey?? I don't understand, I am unemployed, but feel if I want a better life, I need to move out of a home that I have been at for years. What do I do?

Answers 1 to 9 of 9
First, Life is Not Fair. That should be embroidered on a sampler and hung in the hallway. Families should be fair, but that is not always the case, either. Even among families where the basic undertone is good will and reasonableness, details that are not made explicit and agreed to up front are often seen by various members in very different ways.

You see your rent-free living as payment for upkeep on the property and caregiving services. Your siblings (who probably have not really thought it through and don't understand what caregiving entails) see it as a free ride, and as more benefits than they are getting from Mom's estate. It is too bad this wasn't discussed more thoroughly upfront, but that is often the case.

If your mom goes into a long term care facility presuably one of the houses may have to be sold to provide money for that. Perhaps both house will need to be sold for that purpose -- does she have other assets or income that will pay for years of long term care?

As to what happens to the house between now and when it is eventually sold, how about this? Draw up a list of all the things you do for Mom that would have to be hired done if you were not there. Don't count playing cards with her two nights a week if that is something you would do whether she was ill or not, and if your siblings do similar visiting. Write down things like how long it takes to manage meds each week, doing Mom's laundry, cooking for her, taking her to doctor appointments, and the other caregiving tasks you perform. Try to find out the local going rate for these activities, and total up the costs for your services. Also list the lawn and house maintence you do/pay for that a landlord would normally be expected to provide. What is the fair market rent value of the house?

Let us say the rent is $600, and your services/house upkeep list is $450. You put $600 into the "House account" each month, and then withdraw $450 for your services. If your list is $700 each month, then some negotiating has to occur. None of this is about not being willing to help your mom for free -- it is about trying to make it fairer for all the co-owners of the house.

When Mom does move to a long term care facility the caregiving tasks will be greatly reduced but not eliminated. There may still be medical appointments to take her to, keeping an eye on how things are going, meeting and discussing/negotiating concerns with the facility staff, etc. If you continue to live in the house you'd continue to pay rent and continue to get paid for your services, but probably less.

Do this sound fair?
Top Answer
This is complex and you need to get detailed advice from the eldercare attorney beyond "yeah, the quitclaim deed was a good thing" and maybe an estate planner and tax specialist. (I found a good attorney by picking one with a web site with lots of good information on Medicaid and estate recovery, and only wish I had consulted earlier.)

A major question is whether or mot Mom wil ever have to qualify for Medicaid herself. There was a good post or article on here reasonable ways to let parents pay children for care - it has to all be at fair market value, and well-documented so it is not seen as "gifting." There are some circumstances where the penalty for gifting may be worth incurring, depending on how much the care costs. Also, another possibility is to see about any community waiver programs that would let mom get home care services if she really does not want to move out to assissted living and there could be advantages to that. Once mom is not living in the house there may be questions about whether it would be counted as an asset for spend-down, though they usually do not as long as the person states they want to or plan to return; also that may trigger estate recovery for dad's Medicaid. Also, Medicaid only lets you have one house and they do not care about leaving you enough money to take care of it. It is not really just about what seems fair or reasonable, but what gives you all an advantage tax or estate wise and leaves mom enough money for her care life-long. And you also have to be careful with rent money - that could be an asset or income that is countable for either spend-down or estate recovery as well. To make things worse, in some states they have even begun requiring chidren to pay for care for their parents. Your documentation on what you have spent might become very important and I would get all that together also. I wish you well and hope you indeed can find trustworthy legal/financial advisors for your specific situation!
Thank you for the reply's. I often mention this website has been such a helpful tool for me. I have tried to tell my sister to come here because she is a caregiver to her husband too. She said what good is it to go there? I said a lot of people here going or gone through the same senerios and it has been so helpful. Her husband just had a 4th stroke and she is dealing with so much that I can barely talk to her. Nor does the family feel it is a good time to do so, but we all have a lot on our plate. She just became the POA for mom a month ago or so. I decided it was best because I got enough on my shoulders being the Power of Medical. We already had a free consultation for a Elder Law Attorney, and she said mom has enough money right now in the bank along with her social security, that it will carry her through assisted living for three years. At that time, she said we should come back to her to get help and at that time, the one house will need to be sold.
Mom doesn't get it, of course and still is wanting to know why my sister is taking care of the money and bills now, when mom feels she can still do it. The Elder Law Attorney said that her fee is $7000.00, my mom said it is too much and doesn't want to pay. The attorney told my mom , she has 2 choices, either let her hide the money so she can get on medicaid and save the 1 house and property for her kids and be able to give them something in the end, or give it all to the state. Mom still says she don't get it, and doesn't want to pay.
I am sure that everyone out there has gone through this similiar thing. All I am wanting to know is why am I on a deed to a house that has been paid off for 37 yrs, am I being asked to pay rent to put into my moms account that is going to end up going to the state anyways for her care. My mom said she is paying the taxes, because none of us can afford it. When I tried to show her on paper yesterday that she is making a profit of $3000 above the taxes, she says she doesn't get it. And yes a very good idea to list the things I have done and making a house account. I have mentioned this list many times , and my sister gets it. but then. time goes by that somethings are forgotten. I will work on that list . I am so frustrated right now, as I so want to just move from here to get away from all the problems. My neice has moved in with mom right now which has been a big relief to me. However, she does not drive or have a car. So much is still on my plate. Mom does not want to leave home and wants to die at home like dad did. I don't think she gets how hard this is getting on all of us. I want to just love her as much as I can, but she seems so angry right now and everytime I try to mention anything she says all I want to do is argue with her everyday. I can't seem to stop this vicious cycle. I am trying to stay away as much as possible right now to cool down and only go there when needed. But I do need to go there almost everyday, just trying to keep my visits short because I am getting so short fused right now. I can't help being angry over so much and it is not good for me to be over there. Thank you for all your input. It has helped so much.
I am sorry , but I see that I have repeated myself a lot in this reply back, without re reading what I first wrote at the top. I apoligise.
Whoa 7K up front seems like an awful lot for an eldercare attorney. Maybe a second opinion would be good.

But I can see emotions are running high and theat makes everything harder by far. You really must feel like you are just hitting your head on the wall, and sister has got to be feeling like she is in over her head too iwth her husband so ill and needing care and dealing with all that entails as well. The strategy of visiting often for short periods (I'd call it "short 'n' sweet) is probably a very good one. If mom can pay for assisted living or home health for 3 years that's actually a great thing, If legally you have to pay rent and document caregiver duties to be paid for it, it might help to think that in the long run, it could end up saving part of mom's estate; if she does not spend down everything and does not ever need Medicaid, which, for better or worse, could happen, there would be that much left for inheritances. Maybe moving out and letting them take on a boarder for extra $$ is not such a bad plan, though you have to pick and choose and supervise! My mom passed right after I had a $350.00 consultation iwth an eldercare attorney, but it gave some answers and insights that may still have been worth the money. He would then have answered a simple question or two fo free, then charged an hourly rate for any additional work, which sounds a lot more reasonable than 7k like yours wants.

Fully recognizing that all the easy questions have been answered already, I hope there is a good answer for your situation that makes the best of these tough times and leaves you all feeling that you did your best to give Mom what she wanted and needed most in her last years.
I thought the 7K was outrageous too. But at least we got a free consultation. I don't really want to move out of a farm here where I have worked hard to keep it nice and poured my money into also, and been here 22 yrs. I am broke now, looking for work , but knowing that I will still have to be there for much for her ongoing medical. There is no contract to pay rent here. I just feel that any money that they keep adding in to moms account is going to end up going to the state. I have tried to explain that to my other siblings, and only one is agreeing right now. And it is not the one who just became the POA. But I can't talk to mom about it, or she gets very mad and thinks I am trying to start a fight with her. Yes my emotions are very high, because I have been 2 yrs unemployed now, no one thinks I should be compensated and feel that my staying here for free should be enough. But it is not enough when I have no money coming in and it is getting hard for me to think I will ever have a future. I need to get back to work so I can have some health insurance also. No one here knows what to do and everytime I make a suggestion, or tell them they should check out this website, they say what for? I hope to keep hearing from people out there that may have had a similiar situation.
You need to get to work, for the income, for health insurance, for your self esteem, and to have a life. Work on that first. When you have a job and have been in it a while, you can consider whether you want to rent the place your have living in now, or whether, like your friend, you'd like to find your own place (perhaps at a lower cost). Either way, when you are no longer depdendent on your siblings for a place to live, you can resign your caregiving duities. Then the POA can decide how to meet Mom's needs. For example, maybe one or more professional caregivers will need to be hired. If they want to offer you a parttime caregiving job at the same rates they will have to pay strangers, you can consider whether you'll take it. If they decide they'll try to divide up the responsibilities among the family, you can pitch in your share (but not more than your share).

But first, get a job! The fact that you are financially dependent puts you at a disadvantage in working out solutions with your siblings. In this market finding employment may not happen overnight, but that is where the bulk of your energy should be concentrated. Get a job, and you'll be surprised at how many more options you have.
Thank you so much for your reply! You are 100% right on with what I should be doing with a plan for sure. I want this to be my plan. I have done nothing but waste time and energy talking to my other siblings or mom because they cannot see how or why I would be going down hill or the position that this has put me in. They feel that giving me a place rent free should be payment enough, however, I don't make enough on unemployment to pay even the utilities here. My mom is sad/mad, because she feels a burden I am sure, but wants to keep pocketing money in her bank account for anybody else that wants to come here to help. So nobody stays to help me. And yes you are absolutely right, they need and I need to start hiring everyone to come in to take my place now, since no one has made an effort to see that I get compensated for the things I have done. Unfortunately, you are right, my self esteem is at its lowest point, and I want it back. So instead of wasting time talking to all the people in my family who are not helping at all, I am going to focus on getting a job, and I will hire somebody to come in and do the chores at her expense so she can learn from it. I feel it is the only way out of this. I love my mom so much, but I can't die along with her.
That one sentence I wrote of (My mom is sad/mad, because she feels a burden I am sure, but wants to keep pocketing money in her bank account for anybody else that wants to come here to help.) didn't make since when I re-read it, so I will re-write, I mean't that she wants to pocket this money into her bank account from others that come and stay with me, because she feels that we will all get it equally in the end. I have told her that any money that goes into her account from rent here from somebody else is only going to go to the state. And things are not equally fair when I am providing all her needs and care. And like I said above, in another post, she said she is collecting the rent so she can pay the taxes here, but when I told her she was making a profit of $3K, she said she doesn't get it. Oh well, I just want to get back to work and let the others figure it all out. By the way, I am the youngest child here, over the age of 50.

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